EAST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Kathy Koenigsdorf from East Islip wants you to learn from her son’s short life.

“Jake was my firstborn,” she told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “He was gorgeous. The kind of kid everyone wanted to be friends with. He had a 134 IQ. He was brilliant. He was a great thinker. He also started to suffer from anxiety at the end of high school. And in high school, someone handed him an OxyContin, and it took away that anxiety.”

Prescription pills led to heroin.

“He OD’d in our home twice in 13 hours, and we finally got him into outpatient, but we couldn’t get it here,” Koenigsdorf said. “We tried for 14 days actually, calling every facility with private insurance to get a bed for inpatient.”

Jake was in recovery until a fall at work sent him to the emergency room with fractured ribs.

“My son was now on morphine and Percocets, which is the perfect disaster for an opiate addict,” his mother said.

Chronic pain forced Jake to return to heroin.

“My son asked for help every single time he thought he was slipping,” Koenigsdorf said.

In July 2013, Jake overdosed and died. He was just 21 years old.

His mother later on spoke at a rehab commencement in Florida when, she said, “a kid walked up to us crying, and he said, ‘My best friend’s 30 minutes from here. Can’t get on a bus. Father of two, putting a needle in his arm every two hours right now. He’s going to die.’ He goes, ‘Would you help him?'”

Koenigsdorf started the Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation. She raises money and pays for addicts to enter treatment.

L’Oréal Paris has named her a “Woman of Worth.” Votes online could lead to even more money for her cause. The voting continues through Friday.

“L’Oréal has the line “you’re worth it,'” Koenigsdorf said. “That is awesome that the idea of worth coincides so well with what we do every day.”

For more information on the Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation, visit www.jakekfoundation.com.

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